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S&T biology graduate helps track down issues in women’s health

Grace Deitzler in her lab at Washington University. Photo by Kim Deitzler.

Grace Deitzler had an issue.

With wide-ranging pursuits in highschool, she couldn’t determine what she needed to concentrate on when she went to school. Music schooling? Interesting, however no. Theater? More of a interest, so no to that, too. Environmental engineering? With all the maths that’s wanted, thanks, however no thanks.

Biology? Yes? Yes.

A December 2016 organic sciences graduate from Missouri S&T, Deitzler’s chosen area turned clear when she took instructor Julie Ertmann’s superior placement biology class her senior yr at University City High School in the St. Louis suburbs. That starting led Deitzler to the place she is right now, a analysis scientist in the Washington University (St. Louis) Lewis Lab of Microbial Glycobiology & Women’s Health. And that’s main Deitzler to the place she needs to be, as a Ph.D. doctor and scientist serving to unlock the secrets and techniques to treating infectious illnesses.

“Having a Ph.D. as well as an MD will allow me to go into research that is clinically applicable,” Deitzler says.

Actually, she’s doing that type of analysis proper now.

Women’s health

Deitzler spent the summers in 2014-16 as an intern and analysis technician in the Lewis Lab tackling issues with women’s health — and extra particularly with women’s reproductive health. She did analysis on urinary tract infections and on bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial vaginosis — the most typical vaginal an infection in women ages 15-44 — can result in untimely start and low start weight. It can also improve a women’s danger of contracting a sexually transmitted illness, together with HIV.

“I’ve always kind of been interested in women’s health,” Deitzler says. “It’s fulfilling to me because we’re working on issues that can apply to women around the world.”

The staff at Washington University pushes her to be her greatest, Deitzler says, however the work is rewarding.

“I think maybe she says we challenge her because we think she is a gifted young scientist, she works hard and we think she can make important contributions to women’s health, or at least to help better understand the biology of disease in the female reproductive tract,” says Dr. Amanda Lewis, the lab’s director. “Grace is a wonderful part of our team. She strives to be a conscientious experimental biologist and brings a welcome boisterousness to the lab that makes the science even more fun.”

Deitzler’s work has helped broaden the information of “genome sequences of nine gram-negative vaginal bacterial isolates” and the “genome sequences of 14 Firmicutes strains isolated from the human vagina.” These papers have been revealed on the American Society for Microbiology’s Genome Announcements web site, and due to Deitzler and the group’s work, the genomes have been sequenced and each the genomes and strains can be found for public use.

On these two open-access papers, Deitzler was the lead writer, and on two others she was named because the second writer.

It just isn’t typical, Lewis says, for undergraduates to be listed first on analysis papers.

“Usually, in our field, this means the person did an important share of the work and wrote the first draft of the manuscript,” she says. “In this case, Grace isolated the bacterial strains along with a team of others who were working on this project. We sent the strains to a team funded by the Human Microbiome Project to have them sequenced. Grace did a good job writing up the first drafts of these manuscripts.”


Although Deitzler is aware of the place she needs to go, she hasn’t pursued that objective with a single-minded focus that excludes all different pursuits. On the opposite.

Her final two semesters at Missouri S&T, Deitzler served as editor-in-chief of the Missouri Miner scholar newspaper after beforehand working there as a author. She has labored on-air at KMNR 89.7FM — and has proven others the ropes on the radio station.

Deitzler’s outdoors actions didn’t cease there. The Helix Life Sciences Club, the Miner League Theater Players/Alpha Psi Omega theater honors fraternity, and the Phi Sigma organic sciences honors fraternity have been just some of her different actions.

She additionally volunteered as an Opening Week mentor for incoming freshmen at S&T. She helped increase cash for the Russell House and the Rolla Animal Shelter. She helped Rolla’s G.R.A.C.E. adopt-a-family program.

Deitzler credit her mother and father, Ed and Kim Deitzler, with instilling a curious nature in their daughter.

“They have always been my biggest supporters in whatever I’ve decided to pursue, especially in science, and I owe a lot of my success to their encouragement,” she says.

And Ertmann isn’t stunned in any respect of Deitzler’s actions at Missouri S&T as a result of she noticed the identical type of devotion when Deitzler was in highschool. When it got here time to ship in school purposes, Ertmann wrote Deitzler a letter of advice.

“One of her best qualities is curiosity,” Ertmann wrote. “She often drives class discussion by asking thought-provoking questions, which leads others to comment and participate as well.”

For her half, Deitzler provides Ertmann maybe the perfect suggestion a instructor can obtain.

“Her passion about the subject opened my eyes that biology was more than just a class I was taking,” Deitzler says.

And now, it’s Deitzler’s ardour, too, one which has led her to Missouri S&T — and, she hopes, past.

While she works in Lewis’ lab, Deitzler can also be learning for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and if she does nicely, she’ll begin making use of to medical faculties in September. Or she might return to high school and work on a Ph.D. first after which apply for medical faculty.

Either means, her objective stays the identical.

“I want to be able to solve national and global problems of infectious diseases and other health epidemics,” Deitzler says, “and this desire has been inspired by the knowledge I gained in my undergraduate program.”

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